The countdown is on to Harness Racing's new Grand Prix

By Michael Guerin

If the appetiser is anything to go by we are in for a stunning first Grand Prix meeting at Addington on December 4.

The new multi-Group 1 meeting on Sunday week was always going to be spectacular but being a new meeting it is still very much a journey into the unknown.

But the road map there is Addington’s prelude meeting on Friday night and it will whet the appetite for what comes nine days later.

Many of the big names who will head to the Grand Prix on a Sunday afternoon have their final lead-ups on Friday, except the two-year-olds who after a busy recent time have the night off.

But the three-year-olds go again, with the next round of Akuta (barrier 9) versus Republican Party (8) in the Ian Dobson Classic, which also features Sand Wave, Beach Ball and northern newcomer Nicholas Cage.

The three-year-old fillies clash in the Hilarious Guest Classic and again it is a preferential draw so True Fantasy gets the outside of the front line against stablemate Queen Of Diamonds, who disgraced herself with an early gallop last start.

But for all the pacing talent on show it is the trotters who take centre stage on Friday, highlighted by the $100,000 What The Hill Trotting Oaks.

It brings together unbeaten Southland filly Hidden Talent against Jewels winner Double Delight and the All Stars filly Paramount Empress, with the southerner having the big advantage of a handy front-line draw.

The $65,000 Lone Star Sires’ Championship Trot also has a north-south flavour with Gold Bullion and High Energy against Southern Diamond and Halberg in a deep race.

And the three-year-old trotting boys have a lead-up to the Trotting Derby at the Grand Prix in the opening race on Friday with Highgrove against Mystic Max and Hot To Trot.

TAB markets for the six main races on Friday are expected out on Wednesday morning.

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